Authorities in New York City said that Hart Island, located near the Bronx, might be used as the final resting spot for COVID-19 patients who die and are unclaimed, as stark images of the graves recently emerged.
A drone video showed a large trench being dug at the public cemetery on Hart Island.
The medical examiner’s office told The Associated Press that it will only keep bodies for 14 days before they are sent to be buried in Hart Island.
Mayor Bill de Blasio explained what the Hart Island burial pictures reveal: “These are people who no one after a period of time has claimed them and not just COVID victims, but victims of all diseases all reasons for fatality and they are being buried,” CNN reported.
“For decades, Hart Island has been used to lay to rest decedents who have not been claimed by family members,” Goldstein said, reported CNN. “We will continue using the Island in that fashion during this crisis and it is likely that people who have passed away from COVID-19 who fit this description will be buried on the island in the coming days.”
For over 150 years, Hart Island has been used as a public cemetery who have been unclaimed at the morgue.
“These are people who, for two weeks, we have not been able to find anyone who says ‘I know that person, I love that person, I will handle the burial,’” Goldstein added. “These are people who we have made zero contact with the family.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to the now-viral images of trenches being dug on the island.
The pictures of our fellow New Yorkers being buried on Hart Island are devastating for all of us.
I want to make sure everyone knows what they’re seeing and what is actually happening on Hart Island.
Remember, these are human beings. These are neighbors we’ve lost.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 10, 2020
“The pictures of our fellow New Yorkers being buried on Hart Island are devastating for all of us. I want to make sure everyone knows what they’re seeing and what is actually happening on Hart Island. Remember, these are human beings. These are neighbors we’ve lost,” he wrote. “There will be no mass burials on Hart Island. Everything will be individual and every body will be treated with dignity.”